Looking for a way to promote your startup on a shoestring budget? Reaching out to bloggers and asking them to review your products, post your press releases and mention your business is an absolute proven strategy. Bloggers often have loyal followings who can eventually become both customers and supporters. In addition, mentions and links on high-quality blogs and magazines are an important part of any entrepreneur's SEO strategy.
Here are some ideas for developing blog promotions and relationships with industry influencers:
Identify Bloggers to Work With
Identifying the best bloggers to work with requires some time, patience and detective work. It also requires developing realistic expectations. While it would be thrilling to get a mention or review on a hugely popular blog, the reality is that top-tier bloggers usually have a backlog of requests for reviews and mentions. There's certainly nothing wrong with contacting top bloggers, but you may have to wait a long time before you hear back from them. Instead of only targeting blogs with huge followings, consider working with mid-tier bloggers as well as newbies who produce quality content. Here are some things to look for:
1) Does the blogger write well and produce thoughtful content?
2) Does the blogger post regularly, at least one or two times per week?
3) Has the blogger received positive mentions or links from other respected bloggers?
4) Does the blogger make it easy for you to contact them about a review or mention?
As you develop your blogger outreach strategy, you will develop your own criteria for deciding which bloggers make good prospects. You may find that some blogging behaviors, such as the inclusion of video blogs, or having an in-house "testing panel," result in better promotion for your brand.
Approaching bloggers may not be as difficult as you think. Keep in mind that these are people who have deliberately gone public with their writing and enthusiasm for a topic, subculture or industry. As a result, they are often very open to contact from people they don't know.
Some bloggers will post their policies regarding contact directly on their blog or personal site. Take a few minutes to look for this information. It's best to start off your relationship with the blogger on a positive note by respecting their preferences regarding their contact preferences.
Consider Your Approach
When contacting a blogger directly, it helps to make your email brief and attach supplementary information as needed. Bloggers are often busy people and don't have the time to read lengthy emails. Instead, introduce yourself and your business in a couple of sentences, then direct the blogger to your website (or email attachments) so that he or she can research your business on his or her own.
You can make your offer stand out by offering more than just the opportunity to try out your product or mention your company. As a business owner, you have expertise that could benefit the blogger. You might offer to serve as an editorial resource to the blogger, answering questions about industry terms, practices and trends. Since bloggers are often hobbyists and enthusiasts, this sort of support and education may be very welcome.
Promote Blog Content
Once a blogger reviews your product or mentions your company, share that blog post on your own blog, company website and social media accounts. Third-party content gives you and your business credibility, so be sure to show it off! Content sharing also increases traffic to the blogger's site, further developing your relationship. Be sure to drop the blogger an email letting them know what you've done and where they can see your post.
Try putting these tips into practice now. Enjoy the publicity and the newfound professional relationship!
This piece originally appeared on Launchable Magazine